Holidays need to be a time of joy, fun and making memories. We parents and adults have some control on helping the holidays be enjoyable and making sure the memories are good ones.
There is an old book titled: When Ever Two Or More Are Gathered, Someone Spills Milk. Many times in the midst of holiday meals, gatherings, and special events, something gets dropped, spilled, or knocked over that has the ability to put a damper on the event or the person who caused the spill.
Thirty years from now, no one will remember the broken plate, the stained table cloth, or the burnt cinnamon rolls. But chances are people will remember who got upset and yelled, and who continues to bring up the same baggage every year at holiday time.
In some cases a child will remember the words where a possession seemed to mean more than a person. You can control that. We slip up often and put possessions over people. It can happen in a moment. This season somewhere along the way, the toast is going to slip off the plate and land jelly side down on your new shirt. What if you control your emotional response? What if you make a plan right now to focus on people over things? Consider feelings, embarrassments, and the heart of the person who just made the mistake instead of the stain or the breakage.
This is a great lesson for all of us to learn. It is especially important with ADHD children.
The FastBraiin child may be moving quickly, having a hard time sitting in their seat at dinner, and already needs much encouragement—not condemnation for their spill.
Getting ready for the holiday season is always a rushed time, so create a plan to spend time making good memories, not reliving what went wrong last year.
Here are a few ways to interact with your child during the holidays . . .
Give your child some ownership in decorating.
There are always some ornaments that can be handled by kids or will not shatter when dropped. It is OK if they hang 5 items on the same limb. Take a photo of it. You can share it with them later in life. Teach them to hang an ornament and step back and see how it looks in relation to others, this is a teaching moment.
If decorating your home is important and kids are important, than let them help. Be excited to encourage them and for them to show off what they’ve done.
Turn on some music while you’re decorating.
Work in short intervals such as 10 to 15 minutes. Remember, short breaks help the ADHD / FastBraiin child focus and stay interested. Having hot chocolate, warm cider, even eggnog is a good way to stop and look at the work, check the list, have a sip and start again.
Praise your child.
Thank them and praise them as they complete each task and praise them in front of others. Praise goes a long way for the ADHD child and for his or her confidence. Praise also helps your child to develop trust and have confidence in you as their parent.
Make gifts with your child.
Every one loves to receive a gift that is hand made. This can be from art work to poetry to simple glued structures from popsicle sticks. You can help them make creative place cards or name cards for the dinner table. Make homemade ornaments or original holiday art to hang in your home. A quick internet search of Holiday Crafts and you will have 100’s of ideas for kids to make.
Look for teachable moments.
Every frustration and difficult trial (and we know there are plenty of those), become teaching moments that we can learn and grow from. Take advantage of them.
Also look for ways to teach your kids by example. Go and serve. Children will respond to the focus of helping someone else. Collecting items for children overseas, working in the soup kitchen in town, giving gifts after a child has earned some money. This creates ownership and a feeling of goodwill.